The marque: Founded as the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company in Sydney in 1887. It changed its location to Birmingham, and its output to cars.
The history: Works manager Herbert Austin was the driving force behind the company and its initial foray into the car market. The Wolseley Autocar No 1 resembled little more than a powered tricycle and returned a zero in the units sold column.
After a Wolseley won the Thousand Mile Trial race of 1900, the first production car went on sale for A£270.
The company was bought out by Hiram Maxim, machine-gun manufacturer, and became the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company. Austin left to set up his own company in 1906. By 1913, Wolseley was one of the largest motor manufacturers in the UK. During the First World War, the Birmingham factory went into overdrive, manufacturing military equipment.
Peacetime saw demand for the expensive Wolseleys dwindle. In 1927, Wolseley Motors went bankrupt.
Austin tabled a buyout, but the spoils went to William Morris. The early 1930s saw the company's fortunes improve, with production of the Wolseley Hornet. The introduction of the illuminated radiator badge strengthened the brand image and featured until production ceased in 1975.
The bigger Wolseleys . . . sixcylinder cars such as the 6/110 . . . enjoyed popularity as police cars. The last example was the Six, launched in March 1975.
Defining model: 6/110, as seen in old British films.
They say: The Civilised Sports Car.
We say: Woolly.